What Should Your Investment Priorities Be In 2015?

Although people think the certain markets and economies are unpredictable, they are more foreseeable than one may realize. America’s economy hits rock bottom every ten years. Considering the last recession was 6 years ago, it looks like we have about 4 more years to prepare for it. That being said, you need to consider your investment priorities in 2015. Continue reading if you want to be prepared for the next recession.


Prepare For It

• One of the most flustering parts about a recession is the unexpectedness of it.
• Review the years from the last recession and look over your income/expenditures. What was life like then? Considering your current income, whether it is higher or lower, is your current life livable if a recession hits?
• Typically, the DOW will drastically drop one day. Like the plague, it will slowly start attacking people, and within a month, people (banks/homes/businesses) start dropping like flies.
• One of your investment priorities in 2015 should be to have a “recession” savings. It should be a regular savings account, but one specifically targeted to rescue you when worse comes to worse and the bottom bows out.

Prioritize Your Spending

• Another investment priority in 2015 should be to put all major purchases on the back burner. For an extensive planner, visit this website to help manage your spending priorities.
• Because our economy is booming again after the 2009 recession, it is easy to think that now is the time to buy that one thing you’ve been waiting for (a new kitchen, plastic surgery, a new home).
• The current state of the economy is all a tease. Because history repeats itself, we know that we will drop again in just a few short years. Will you still be able to pay for that new home? Will you still be paying off that surgery or kitchen?
• If you must splurge, try paying for something up front so it is not financed. Or, wait until it is on sale, and it is highly discounted.
• If you’re going to splurge, a good place to do that would be in your savings. You may not lose your job in the next recession, but you could suffer pay cuts, less hours, or fewer benefits. This is where your savings can save the day.

Become Debt Free

• Because you have some extra money at this time, get ahead of the game, and pay off your credit cards or remaining balances on loans.
• One investment priority in 2015 should be to make an extra payment or two. This will give you more cushions down the road if you are still paying something off when the next recession takes place.


• You may be wondering why you should be saving the most when you’re making more than years past.
• This is one of the most important investment priorities in 2015 – invest, and continue investing.
• Whether you have a 401(k) or begin renting out rooms in your home to pay off a mortgage, you are already on the right track for your investment priorities in 2015.
• Be careful at this time. It is easy to become panicked and want to get rid of your investments. This will be a great mistake.
• Mutual funds typically recovery after a recession, and will grow each time. After the next recession, they will be even higher.
• Make it an investment priority in 2015 to NOT sell.
• If you absolutely must sell, for say, retirement purposes, only sell a portion of it. It is highly unlikely that you will spend your entire retirement fund in one year.
• A small portion of your funds can cover you short term, so you are set for a couple of years.
• Dividends, or bonuses, may not necessarily hit bottom in the next recession, but they may actually grow over the next few years.

Buy When You’re Down

• Because businesses and companies are so desperate for business during a recession, prices will be cheaper than ever.
• In addition to daily purchases, investing during a recession is also at an all-time peak level.
• If you are able, a recession is the time to purchase homes for rental, stocks, and mutual funds. Specifically, rental properties will be significantly lower during this time.
• This is why it should be one of your investment priorities in 2015: save now so you have money to purchase when items are at their lowest.
• Don’t be intimidated by the high peaking prices. Astonishingly, you should still keep buying, especially with plans like 401(k).
• Also, don’t be intimidated by the cyclical lows. History shows that the market will rebound at a typically higher level.

Nuts and Bolts

One of your investment priorities in 2015 should be to prepare for the storm before it hits. This is the best way to make it through the trough.

Manage Your Debt Wisely

Probably the majority of people in the world have debt of some sort or another, so managing debt is a must. Knowing how to manage your debt successfully includes making timely scheduled payments of at least the minimum amount.

So are you unsure of how to manage your debt? Keep reading for tips and ideas to help.

To Whom Do You Owe Money, And How Much?


If you want to know how to manage your debt, you must first know who it is you owe money to, as well as how much. Keep a record of your total combined debt, the amount owed to each creditor, the minimum amount due, and the due date. Then list your paydays and the amount you plan to pay (if more than the minimum) that month. Amend your checklist from time to time after paying off bills or accumulating new ones.

Be a Good Debtor

This rule regarding how to manage your debt is plain and simple-pay the minimum amount of each of your bills on time every month. Being consistent with these actions will pay off in the form of lower interest rates and avoidance of late fees.

If you use an electronic tracking system, make sure to alert yourself a couple of days prior to the due date. If you realize you missed your payment, do not delay sending in your payment until the next month! Doing so could rack up fees, interest, late charges, and make your credit score plummet. Additionally, contact your creditor as soon as you observe the missed deadline. Many times creditors are willing to extend a one-time forgiveness of a late payment. They will remove the late fee so that your balance does not go up, and your credit history is not negatively affected.

Calendar It

If you are unsure on how to manage your debt, then create a calendar, whether on your Smartphone, tablet, computer, or by using the good old-fashioned pen and paper. As mentioned above, make note of the due dates of all your bills, as well as when you will receive your paychecks. This will help you plan ahead for the expected inflow and outflow of your money. If your paydays fall on the same day every month, it is acceptable to use the same calendar repeatedly. However, if your paydays fall on different days every month, it would be helpful to use a separate calendar for each paycheck.

Pay the Least Possible Amount, If Necessary

In order to make real progress towards paying off debt, it is necessary to pay more than the minimum amount every month. However, if this is not a possibility, at least pay the minimum amount to avoid late fees, over limit fees, and possibly going into default.

Choose What Creditors Get Paid Off First

Often times the best way to pay off credit cards and other debt is to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate. Since you will be paying more overall with these accounts get rid of them first.

Another approach is to pay off the account with the smallest balance first. This is often helpful in achieving a sense of accomplishment after seeing more and more debt repaid.

With both approaches, after one account is paid off, add the minimum amount you were paying to the new-targeted account. So, you will pay the minimum amount on the new account, plus the minimum amount you were paying on the paid off account. This is a domino effect that is very motivational for debtors.

Pay Accounts in the Collection Process and Write-Offs

The next accounts to tackle are the accounts that have already been sent to an outside collection agency, or have been written off by the original creditor as an uncollectible bad debt. However, be careful not to fall behind on your accounts in good standing while attempting to pay the ones in bad standing. Be advised that creditors will continue their efforts to collect on the amount past due as long as there is an outstanding balance.

Maintain a Reserve Pool of Money

Maintaining a generous amount of savings is essential to financial health. Health emergencies, vehicle problems, and pop-up home repairs are bound to happen. However, if you have a good amount of money saved up for just such occasions, it will not be such a financial blow to you, as you will not have to borrow more money to pay for the unexpected expense. It is a good idea to maintain a minimum of six months’ expenses saved in case such emergencies happen. And, take baby steps. Make a goal to first save $500. Then, once you have reached that goal, move towards a new goal of saving $1,000. After a while of doing this, you will have the necessary savings built up in case of emergency, along with the confidence of knowing how to manage your debt.

Make a Financial Plan and Stick to It

A sound financial plan makes sure that plenty of funds are available to account for all your bills for that pay period. Forecast a budget ahead of time, and that way you can adjust your budget where there will not be sufficient funds.

Admit When There’s a Problem

Debt can get out of hand quickly and leave you feeling like you are spiraling out of control. But don’t be ashamed or afraid to reach out for help. There are choices for repayment of your debt. Consider the pros and cons to each of these choices so do your research and compare your alternatives to help make a wise choice for your particular financial situation.

Also, remember that there are many resources on how to manage your debt.

Dealing with Debt Collectors Effectively

There are 3 kinds of debt collectors.

  1. Assignee Collector – These collectors have accounts assigned directly to them
  2. Debtbuyers–Thesecollectorspurchaseaccounts
  3. Collection attorneys – These accounts have been placed with law firms

There are 3 ways to handle collectors.

  1. Consultwithaprofessional
  2. Useforumsforproblemdiscussion
  3. Understand FDCPA laws

Who are debt collectors?

Debt collectors collect past-due or unpaid consumer accounts. Creditors often assign unpaid accounts to collectors when their attempts to collect have failed. These collectors get commissions on amounts collected. Sometimes collectors buy accounts for pennies on the dollar and creditors sometimes assign accounts to law firms who can sue consumers for debt recovery.


The law on debt collectors

Collectors can:

  1. Call you about collecting money
  2. Call your relatives to get your contact details
  3. Sueyouandgarnishyourwages
  4. Getjudgmentordersfromcourttoseizeproperty
  5. Reportyouraccountstocreditbureaus
  6. Sell your account to another collection agency

When can debt collectors call?

The FDCPA Act provides that collectors can call from 8:00am to 9:00pm regarding payments. They must not call your office if you’re not allowed to receive collection calls there and if you have legal representation regarding the debt, the collector must contact them.

How to deal with debt collectors

  • Ask them to prove you owe money: Send a certified letter to the collection agency requesting debt validation. This will verify if the collection agency is authorized by your creditor to collect money. Don’t acknowledge debt you do not owe.
  • Dispute debt that is not valid: Dispute the debt in writing if the collection agency cannot validate it. Send a certified letter to the agency requesting their communication cease.
  • Maintain all records: The records will say you must pay a certain amount. Not all collectors keep proper records, so make sure you keep them of all documents and conversations with collectors for as long as you feel a need. You could get a collection call for a loan which has been paid off for 15 years. Accurate records and documents protect you. Also, don’t pay money just to get rid of a harassing collector.
  • Protect your bank accounts: Keep Social Security and disability payments in separate bank accounts from the household account. Collectors can get a court order to freeze a bank account and that would prove devastating to a family budget. Social Security and disability funds are exempt from garnishment.
  • Craft an agreement: Make an agreement with the collector and negotiate a payment plan on valid debt based on your monthly income. Set up an arrangement which will allow you to make payments to the collector and still meet your personal budget. A credit counselor or debt negotiator can be consulted if need be.
  • Get it all in writing: Get the repayment plan in writing from the debt collection agency – signed by an agency representative. This will help avoid miscommunication regarding the terms and conditions of payments.
  • Know your rights: It is important to educate yourself about your basic consumer rights in order to deal with debt collectors. For instance, you have the right to ask collectors to validate debt after receiving a collection notice. You also have the

right to ask the collector’s identity, name of the collection agency and the debt amount. Know your rights according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and find out what to do if collectors violate those rights.

Complain if necessary: Don’t allow harassment from a debt collection agency. Search the Internet – find contact details of your state attorney general, FTC or a consumer attorney. A good attorney can tell you how to beat debt collectors at their own game and do not hesitate to take legal action in the event of extreme harassment.

What kinds of restrictions do they have?

Collection agencies are prohibited from certain actions while collecting debts. They are prohibited from:

  • Making collection calls incessantly
  • Using abusive or dirty language
  • Giving false information about the debt or agency
  • Threatening to hurt you in any way
  • Sending papers that appear to be official documents
  • Revealing your debt information to a relative or third-party
  • Pretending to be a government official or attorney

What if collectors file a lawsuit?

Debt collectors can file a legal complaint when they don’t receive payments from you. If a lawsuit is really filed against you, respond promptly to the summons yourself or through an experienced consumer attorney. Make sure to respond according to the date mentioned in the court documents. This will help you preserve your consumer rights.

If collectors are able to prove that you owe money on a valid debt, then the court may issue a judgment order. This empowers the collector to garnish your wage or bank accounts and collect their money.

Two Strategies For Managing Your Money

When it comes to finding the perfect strategies for managing your money, then you need to know there is no perfect way to go about this so stop looking for silver bullets or magical formulas because you will never find them. The best budget of them all may actually be not having one at all, which is referred to the ‘anti-budget’. Read on and discover some of the weird, yet worthy strategies for managing your money and you never know you might just come across an eccentric approach, which works best for you.


The Anti-Budget

The entire process of budgeting may be a little awkward, or let’s say burdensome – as this is a better form to put it. It involves:

• Tracking

• Itemising

• Classifying

This is done with every penny you spend and usually makes you feel tedious. However, it should not come as a surprise to you when you hear that budgeting is somewhat similar to dieting, as both have low long-term obedience. It is something that people remain excited about during the first one or two weeks, but the excitement soon wears off and the individual becomes busy. They are usually distracted by other things, which cause them to forget.

Cutting the Imitation

If you simply go for cutting the imitation and grip a budget that you will stick to, you can go for the anti-budget. This procedure involves skimming your top savings and handling the rest in a wild manner. You need to spend without considering how much you have already blown away on restaurants or concert tickets. Below are the three rules regarding strategies for managing your money:

• Your savings

• Your bills

• Never having to live beyond your means

Regarding your savings, this includes:

Debt payoff

• Investments

• Retirement

• Cash savings

There are no exceptions from these and they get pulled from the top first. Your bills include:

• Mortgage/rent

• Insurance premiums

• Utilities

• Fixed costs

These get paid second. Number three is that you never live outside your means even if this entails you to use debit as an alternative to credit.

This is it, and no tracking is involved. You no longer have to worry about your clothing budget being $35, and you spending $43. Every can of dog food and every tube of toothpaste do not need to be line-itemized in order for your strategies for managing your money to be successful. You simply need to pull your savings from the top, pay those bills, and spend the rest in a guilt-free manner.

Saving Strategies for Managing Your Money

You need to ask yourself how much you need to be saving. As a bare minimum, 20 percent is recommended. This includes 12-15 percent into retirement accounts with the rest being cash savings for the following:

• Emergency funds

• Savings for children’s teaching

• Preparing for holidays and vacations

• Savings for big-ticket consumptions

If this seems like a lot for you, then you can consider boosting your savings rate one percent each time. If you are carrying a debt, then the best strategies for managing your money would be to save twenty percent of your income. This should be used to hasten your debt payments. Minimum payments on debt count as bills whereas payments over the minimum, count as savings.

The Live-On-One-Income Budget

Another one of the unusual strategies for managing your money is living on one income. This is easier if you are part of dual-income couple. You may all of a sudden throw a protest of how impossible this is, as you both need incomes, but one thing you must do is test that statement. Yes, you are right as you may need the two incomes in order to continue your present lifestyle, but if you went for a smaller home, then what happens? Or, if you went out for dinner less often? Additionally, what would happen if you went for a vehicle that’s more fuel-efficient or a least expensive haircut? Instead of focusing on why this one of the effective strategies for managing your money will not work, why not ask yourself how to make it work.

This is not something that can happen overnight, so why not paddle into it slowly? You can begin by living on not one, but one and a half income by saving half of your partner’s income. When you find you have successfully adjusted to this lifestyle, you can change the fifty percent you are saving to seventy five percent. Gradually, you can increase this to the entire income of your spouse.

If you are beginning this strategy, you may want to see how you can manage money better and also save the income of the partner with the lower wage. Once you have successfully achieved this, you can challenge yourself to flipping tables and living on the income of the lower earner and as a result save one hundred percent of the higher salary. For a bonus to follow this one of the strategies for managing your money, you can make easier adjustments when you decide to adapt to a household with one-income. This is because all things of your life, such as:

• Mortgage

• Rent

• Car payment

Will all be adjusted around one single income.

List of Top Credit Cards

Many people have many different needs to why they have a credit card. There are different changes in life that occur, in which a credit card may soothe a small financial problem. Regardless to the reason, there are multiple uses for a credit card for any type of situation.

Top Credit Cards

Sometimes while applying for a credit card, one may find out that their credit score may not be top notch. If this happens, this is okay; there are options that alleviate this sore spot. There is a process that it takes to re-build the credit score and there are several credit cards that will work with the customer during this process. Many times people often think that a credit card is not the way to re-build, but that is not always the case.

Using a Top Credit Card: Secured Type

Some people actually use pre-paid credit cards and these cards do not generally affect the credit score. However the secured type of credit card raises the FICO score. The secured card is backed by your own money. The financial institution is n not taking a risk with their money, so even if you have bad credit, it will not affect you getting a secured card. For instance, if you have five hundred dollars in the account associated with the card that is your monthly credit limit.

  • Capital One Secured Card – this company offers a MasterCard as their brand of cards.  This company is one of the most popular companies that offer a secure card without all of the additional hassle.  The company has straightforward terms and actually has customer service that is almost always available in case of any questions. This company also avoids a bunch of the extra fees that are associated with most secured cards. Along with the card, the company give you access to monitor your credit score along your journey. Can you see why this company is at the top of the list?
  • DCU Secured Card- This company uses a Visa Card. One popular reason this company is at the top is because of their low APR rate and there is no annual fee. This card has many perks that will allow the customer to benefit in many ways by using this card. It does have a late fee associated with the card, but the penalty will affect your APR.

With the secured card, as soon as you have shown that you can be trusted with a card, it will help your credit. In many cases, this help will allow the customer to get another type of credit card that is unsecured. While the secured cards come from your money, the unsecured cards come from the financial institutions money.

Using a Top Credit Card: Unsecured Type

The most credit cards that are used are the unsecured type of card. This category of cards is issued by the institution like a bank or credit union. The credit limit for these cards is based on your income and your credit. So that is why it is best to go through the process of re-building the credit to a good score to qualify.

  • Total Card – this is used by Visa. This may be a foreign brand to many but it has many good perks for an unsecured card.  The credit limit usually starts around three hundred dollars and there is a fee for processing.  There is a monthly service fee for this card and a hefty late fee for late payments.
  • Credit One Card- This card is issued by Visa. It has a lower APR with a higher max out limit. Depending on your credit, depends on your limit. There are membership fees and sign up fees. So customers be careful and read the terms before signing up.
  • Credit One with Gas Rewards – This is for the ones that have reached a certain credit score. This card offers rewards associated with gas. There are fees that should be looked at before getting this card. After continuous good payments, the company automatically raises the credit limit.
  • Capital One Quick Silver One Rewards – This card is for mediocre credit scores. The APR rate in the beginning is very attractive. There are other fees that should be watched out for as well. As a person’s credit increases, the benefits become better.

Overall Summary

In order to rebuild the credit, there is a process. The process can be long and drawn out at certain times. But this does not meant that good credit cannot be attained. It just takes time to get it done. Below is a list and order of the process snapshot:

  • Get a secured card
  • Review the terms
  • Charge less than the max limit
  • Pay back every month
  • Check your credit as much as possible
  • Re—evaluate the reason for poor credit
  • Stay out of financial trouble
  • Watch credit score go up

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Debt settlement services are available all throughout the United States, but what consumers aren’t always aware of is how the settlement company operates. Unfortunately, there are a lot of debt settlement services that don’t always have your best interests in mind. Companies might offer (or sometimes even “promise”) that they can drastically decrease your debt. However, such a promise is not always true.

If you’re shopping around for a debt settlement company, there are at least three main things you should know about debt settlement. Use the list below to help you become more knowledgeable about the somewhat fishy business practices of debt settlement companies.

Debt Settlers Are In The Business Of Sales 

The important thing to remember is that debt settlement services operate on a business plan. When a company provides you with a monthly payment quote, they are assuming that the creditor you owe debt to is going to settle at 40% (or .40 cents per dollar). Therefore, the debt settlement company will add on a service fee into your monthly payment. Translated, this means that not all of your monthly payment is going directly to paying off your debt because a portion of the payment is being sent directly to the debt settlement company.

So, what else do you need to know about debt settlement business plans?

  • Employees typically have a background in sales. If you’re looking into settling a debt, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re already feeling somewhat vulnerable. Debt settlement companies recognize this and use it to their advantage. In response, they hire representatives with experience in sales. In other words, when you think you’re talking to a credit counselor, debt settlement representatives are actually using sales tactics on you.
  • It’s likely that employees work on commission. Again, sad but true. The person on the other end of your phone is typically working on commission. The more people they settle into a plan, the higher their check is. A lot of people in debt don’t realize this when they start business with a debt settlement company. There are many reasons that factor into explaining why this occurs. For instance, the companies really don’t know consumers to know about debt settlement operations, but it largely happens because debt settlement employees are good at their jobs: sales.
  • Companies take upfront fees. Debt settlement companies operate within a plan that has some transparent ethical boundaries that can easily get crossed. As mentioned earlier, when you send in your monthly payment, the debt settlement company takes a portion of your payment and keeps it for themselves.

There are different types of debt settlement “fees”

As the previous section details, debt settlement companies are in business in order to increase revenue. As such, the federal government has set rules and regulations that you should know about debt settlement companies. For example, one regulation, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, ensures that debt settlement companies don’t profit in the form of upfront fees. But, what you need to know about debt settlement fees is that they may come in a lot of different forms so that the company doesn’t get into legal trouble for profiting off of your monthly payment fees.   Any given debt settlement company might utilize any number of the following methods to avoid legal woes for charging monthly fees:

  • Attorneys are not included in the Telemarking Sales Rule, so a debt settlement company might utilize an attorney’s license once the consumer has field Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • There’s record of some companies calling the upfront fee a “maintenance fee” that can be charged monthly.
  • Consumers who are in otherwise good financial standing and can pay off in the first 3-4 months, but thereafter are charged a fee.

You Don’t Have To Hire A Debt Settlement Company

Now that you are a little more in the know about debt settlement services, you should also understand that a debt settlement company isn’t always necessary. There are various other routes you can utilize in order to pay off debt. Here are a few common methods to pay off debt without going into business with a debt settlement company:

  • Negotiate a payment plan with the creditor to whom you owe money to
  • Work with a collection agency that works directly with the credit
  • Learn about debt management and seek out debt management educational programs
  • Consult a bankruptcy attorney for advice

If you have exhausted all of these options and truly feel that working with a debt settlement company is your best (or perhaps only) way to handle debt, make sure you do extensive research so you know about debt settlement company services, rules, restrictions, etc. Any time a company includes a monthly service, maintenance, or upfront fee, you should steer clear. Otherwise, use your gut instinct. If you feel you’re being ripped off, you may very well indeed be.

World’s Top 10 Hedge Fund Firms

According to AUM, or assets under management, there’s a descending list of hedge fund firms. You might be wondering what are hedge funds. They’re a combination of investments that contain derivatives and the statuses of foreign as well as domestic business markets, promised to specific investors that have a lot to lose and even more to gain. The top list is always fluctuating, displaying instability with the hedge fund investments.

Hedge Fund Firms

Top Secret Hedge Funds

This information isn’t the easiest to obtain when considering the top hedge fund firms. There are certain reasons why hedge funds are hidden from public viewing and difficult to place in order. They are:

  • Many hedge funds are owned by private sectors, so individuals and small, lucrative businesses stake claim to them.
  • Access is extremely limited. Only clients involved directly with the funds are administered domain over them.

World’s Top Ten

Bridgewater Associates LP 

Based in Connecticut and more than relevant, Bridgewater Associates is work to over a thousand employees. That may not seem like a lot, but the company manages billions of dollars of investments, domestically as well as globally. Their hedge fund holders could be anyone from entire national governments to pensions, or even funds from corporations. This hedge fund firm is one of the largest on the list and most profitable.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management 

J.P. Morgan Asset Management is a part of J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. This hedge fund firm manages hedge funds, but also deals with other forms of asset management and productivity. They have over a trillion dollars’ worth of assets under their control, which includes their hedge fund asset count of about $60 billion.

Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC

Och-Ziff created this hedge fund firm in the early ‘90s in New York. Over time, the company’s AUM has increased to almost fifty billion dollars. It specializes in hedge funds, but also other investments, like real estate or equity. A common thread that binds the hedge fund firms at the top of this list is that they maintain other assets beneath their control. It’s the ability to make smart financial decisions and foster relationships with an assortment of investments that keeps companies, like Och Ziff, on top of the hedge fund firm list.

Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP

While relatively new when compared to the other hedge fund firms in the upper portion of this list, Brevan Howard Asset Managemnt, established in 2002, has still earned its spot.  Although it has offices all around the world, this privately owned company houses its main headquarters in London. With over $40 billion in hedge funds in its control, this company specializes in asset management and is the biggest hedge fund holder in Europe, usinjg the assets under management standards. Brevan Howard has many hats, delving into fixed-income securities and commodity management, all the while driving its main focus to profitable expenditures within six month periods and following the trends of various economies.

BlueCrest Capital Management

BlueCrest Capital Management is a hedge fund firm that managed almost $40 billion at the end of 2013. Because it did fall below the $40 billion mark, Brevan Howard was able to surpass them, although it was founded before in 2000. BlueCrest provides management in hedge funds, but also, they offer services for different kinds of investments. .


BlackRock is a pretty financial management company. It has over eleven thousand employees and was created in New York. The company is not only one of the leading hedge fund firms in the country, but it also has  a plethora of other services that include, but are not limited to insurance and equity assessments.

AQR Capital Management LLC

AQR Capital Management was founded in the late 1990s in Connecticut. Like their name suggests, this company has its hand in many sources of capital management, including hedge funds. They have grossed over a $100 billion in AUM and attempt to concentrate on public bonds, equity, and bonds on a global scale.

Lone Pine Capital LLC

Lone Pine Capital is yet another Greenwich, Connecticut company. Created in the late 1990s, this this company utilizes investment approaches on a long and short term basis scale, factoring in global equity. Their bottom-up technique has garnished them an AUM of almost $30 billion.

Man Group LLC

Man Group is another top hedge fund firm that hails from London. The oldest of the group, it was estanlished in 1783, but sadly, has fallen to the bottom portion of this list with an AUM of $28.3 billion.

Viking Global Investors

We end this list with another Connecticut based hedge fund firm in Greenwich. It was established in 1999 and brings their hedge fund management in at an AUM of over $27 billion.

Top 8 Luxury Brands & Shops for the Best Budget Purchases

Sometimes we must accept the fact that the finer things in life aren’t always accessible to those of us living on a budget. However, living the high life doesn’t have to be a pipedream. If your budget is tight and you’d still like to look nice, keep your purchases light by shopping with these ten “luxury” clothing, accessory, furniture, and appliance brands and shops.

budget purchases

1. Amazon

Many people tend to overlook the amount of products that Amazon offers. Not only are items shipped directly from Amazon, but Amazon’s Seller Central allows independent sellers to post products for sale. This feature is perfect for making budget purchases. A quick look around the giant retailer’s independent seller shops reveals Invicta watches, Michael Kors bags, Mac computers, and Wilsons Leather jackets at deeply discounted prices. Find more at www.amazon.com

2. AutoTrader

If you’re in the market for a new (or new-to-you) car, begin your search online with websites like AutoTrader. Many high-end cars (e.g. Mercedes Benz, BMW) are posted on the user-generated lists through AutoTrader. These types of databases allow you to easily find cars and trucks that fit in your budget and meet your expectations. Find more at www.autotrader.com

2. Discount Retailers 

Larger discount retailers are becoming more popular, meaning stores are offering an increased amount of products. Designed for budget purchases, these types of stores (think TJ Maxx or Ross) offer designer brands at a significantly lower price to shoppers. The best part about shopping at off-price retailers is that much of the products are in-season. This means that merchandise is purchased directly from the designer when the designer orders too many of a specific product that other stores (like Macys) don’t purchase. A small percentage of merchandise from off-price retailers comes from “irregular” purchases. These “irregular” products are considered “defunct” in some way, but usually will not vary too significantly from the original product.

Below is a list of common retailers offering high-end products for budget purchases:

  • Bealls
  • Burlington Coat Factory
  • Marshalls
  • Muji
  • Ross
  • Stein Mart
  • TJ Maxx/HomeGoods

3. eBay

You’re likely already familiar with the shopping site eBay, which serves a platform for sellers and buyers to complete business trades. However, eBay and other bidding sites are becoming much more popular for high-end budget purchases including automobiles, designer handbags and clothing, and electronics. eBay is also a perfect place to purchase fine jewelry. With a few simple clicks, you can find diamonds, pearls, and gems from reliable sellers across the globe.  Find more at www.ebay.com

4. H&M

H&M is a perfect luxury-on-a-budget brand. The store’s clothing and accessories are designed to look like high-fashion, but are accessible to consumers seeking to make budget purchases. The brand is even promoted by rising and established celebrities like Lana Del Rey and Beyoncé. The clothing and accessory items offered by H&M are designed for women, men, and girls and boys. Find more at www.hm.com

5. Ikea

Ikea’s brand is becoming increasingly more popular, and there’s a reason. Consumers flock to the Swedish brand for the low prices and quality items. Most of the home products from Ikea are designed for shoppers on a budget. Couches, tables, bed sets, curtains, tableware…you name it, Ikea is bound to have it – and at a budget-friendly price. Find more at www.ikea.com

6. Shutterfly

An easy way to impress others when they enter your home is by having customizable products. Shutterfly, a photo printing service, allows you to do just that. Shutterfly works by offering on-demand printing; simply upload photos and in a few days, Shutterfly can send you personalized products like stationery, books, blankets, mugs, and much more. Using Shutterfly services means you can embellish your items to your liking, making photo products one of the best luxury budget purchases.  Find more at www.shutterfly.com

7. Overstock

You’ve likely seen (or remember) Overstock commercials. What you may not know about Overstock, is that the website features thousands of designer brands and home goods at completely discounted online prices. The site carries furniture, bedding and bath, electronics, home and garden, clothing and jewelry merchandise. Overstock functions much like other discount retailers (see #2 on this list), in that they purchase stock directly from high-end designers who have an overabundance of products. Find more at www.overstock.com

8. Sears Outlet

Outlet shops like Sears Outlet are the perfect places to make budget purchases on major appliances. Sears Outlet offers deeply discounted prices on items like refrigerators, lawn mowers, washer and dryers, and televisions. Outlet stores primarily feature products that were either showroom models, are going out of stock for a new set of models, or have tiny flaws. Buying appliances from major outlet stores allows you to take advantage of massive savings, so long as you can handle a few dents, dings, or last season’s oven. Find more at www.searsoutlet.com

Top Reverse Mortgage Companies

Over the past 12 months many people have taken out a reverse mortgage. Studies show that many of the bigger banks are not really “selling” the reverse mortgage so if you have done your research and are in the market, you may have to contact some financial companies that you have not heard of.

top reverse mortgages

Here is a list of top reverse mortgages companies and some tips to help you choose the business that best suits your needs.

4 of the Top Reverse Mortgage companies

  • American Advisors Group
  • Security 1 Lending 
  • One Reverse Mortgage
  • Liberty Home Equity Solutions

AAG – or the American Advisors Group is 1st on the list of top reverse mortgage companies. The AAG is located in the Orange County in California. The AAG was one of the biggest lenders according to studies. The home equity conversion mortgage or HECM is the most sort after of the three types of reverse mortgages.

The AAG has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Before using any company for your reverse mortgage, do your research.

The AAG is a licensed business in 50 states and belongs to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. If you have not heard of the NRMLA, they have a code of ethics and professional responsibility that they must follow. What does this mean for you? It means that they have a responsibility to their lenders and must follow this, giving you the best care because they are responsible for you. One of their responsibilities is they should explain in detail both the benefits of a reverse mortgage and also the total costs.

The website for the AAG has testimonies written by clients who are very happy with the company. If you are wanting to use this company, have a look at their website, do your research and discuss it if you have any questions. This is the best way to make your decision and don’t make your decision until you have looked into all the different companies, this way you can chose which one suits your needs best.

Security 1 Lending. The Security 1 Lending Company is the 2nd largest HECM lender and also 2nd on the of top reverse mortgage companies. Their headquarters in in San Diego and is licensed in 40 states. They have branches where you can make an appointment and sit down to talk to a consultant. They also have a website you can have a look at and read about their terms. They also have an information packet you can request.

One Reverse Mortgage. This is the 3rd on the list of top reverse mortgage companies and largest HECM also based in San Diego. This company is an online lender. This company is a great company if you are computer savvy and happy to use the internet and telephone and doing the whole process by internet. You may need to meet a consultant, usually at the end of the process. The fees and interests rates may be lower, but it still pays to shop around for the best deal for you. One Reverse Mortgage has been around since 2001 and is licensed in every state and operates in 47 states. The website has stated that they have 100% satisfaction and that all their customers would recommend them.

Liberty Home Equity Solutions – this company is listed as the 4th largest company of the top reverse mortgage companies and they are based in Sacramento. The company has funded over 40,000 reverse mortgages so numbers show success. Liberty also have a website and can supply an information pack which means that you will have some different information to go over and make an informed decision. This company also has a consumer guarantee for fair prices that will match or beat their competitors.

The Final Decisions

Make sure that you get as much information as you can so that you can make an informed decision. Research is the key. Research all of the top reverse mortgage companies so that you have information to make your decision. Also ask questions. If the company you ask is not forthcoming with answers or is helpful, then maybe this is what it will be as you go through the process, so make your decisions on what works for you, what costs your happy with and how helpful and supportive they and then you should be successful. There are many websites and places that you can do your research to decide the company that will work for you, don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you feel that they may be a silly one, if you want to know the answer, then it is not a silly question. Be sure to work with someone who is experienced in reverse mortgages so that you can be happy with their service.


Ways You Can Tell You Are Spending Too Much

Well, you made it through the holidays again and everyone is thrilled with the gifts they received.  The problem is that now the credit card bill is about to arrive and your anxiety is rising.  It is the beginning of the year and it might be a good time to reevaluate your spending habits and make a change.  There are ways you can tell if you are spending too much; not just during the holidays, but, anytime of the year.

This isn’t just you, the average American lives with credit card debt ranging from $5,000 to $7,700.  This means that people are spending more than they have and that means they are definitely spending too much.  All of the high debt averages in America are not just credit cards, there are mortgages, student loans, car payments, cell phones, and just about anything else you can get with credit.

spending too much

There are ways you can tell if you are spending too much and if you fall into any of these situations you made need to change your habits.

Your Credit Situation

How much credit are you living on let’s look at a few things that provide ways you can tell you are spending too much.

  • You Have Credit Card Debt.  What this means is that if you are not able to pay your credit cards in full at the end of the month you are spending too much.  You would not be alone; nearly thirty-four percent of households in America have credit card debt.
  • Paying Too Much For Your House.  You should not be spending more than 28% of the household income on a house payment or rent.
  • Paying Too Much For Your Car.  Cars drop in value rather quickly so sinking a lot of money into it is not a wise decision.  A conservative person above the age of twenty should try to keep a car payment around 15% of their income level.  If you are driving a car with a payment higher than your house payment these are ways you can tell you are spending too much.

Let’s Talk About Savings

You do not have to save every penny you have ever earned, but, it is good to have a little stashed away.  Following are some tips about savings that can give you ways to tell if you are spending too much.

  • You Have Nothing Reserved For Retirement.  It is sad, but, nearly one-third of Americans do not have anything set aside for retirement which could leave them working long past retirement age.
  • You Have Too Little Put Aside For Retirement.  Most financial representatives will tell you that from the age of twenty on you should be putting away ten to fifteen percent of each paycheck to be settled for retirement.  It is hard and if you are not doing it you may be spending too much.
  • You Are Not Following The Financial 50/20/30 Rule.  This is a rule that was developed to help people better control their financial situation.  This means that fifty percent of income should be for life’s essentials, twenty percent should be going towards debt, savings, and retirement, and thirty percent should applied to life choices like how many cable channels you want to pay for and how fast your internet should be.  If you are unable to follow this; these are ways you can tell you are spending too much.

Lack of Future Planning

There are things in life that we can plan for because we know they are going to happen, but, there are things that hit us unexpectedly and we need to be prepared for those as well.  Let’s look at these ways to tell you are spending too much.

  • There Is No College Fund For Your Children.  The sad truth is that the amount of student loan debt is climbing and you should try to avoid putting your child in that predicament.  The average student will graduate college owing roughly $33,000.  Set money aside to help your child not have to start their new career in debt.
  • There Is No Family Emergency Fund.  There are things that are going to happen that you may need to pay for right away and without an emergency fund you cannot.  The recommendation is that there is three to twelve months of income set aside.  If you don’t have it now; just get started.
  • You Forego Insurance.  Yes, insurance can be expensive, but, it is nothing compared to what you may have to pay in the event that something major happens and lands you in the hospital.  Think about it this way if you have a heart attack an spend five days in the hospital it could cost you more than $50,000 or you could pay for insurance and pay just a fraction of that.

The previous subjects are very important and you should think about them very seriously and get your finances in control.  All of these statements are ways that you can tell you are spending too much.